The shuttle between the South Side of Chicago and O’Hare stayed busy the last couple of weeks with a number of big-leaguers heading to other destinations, while the trade deadline deals saw the White Sox add four prospects to their already robust farm system. Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings, and Melky Cabrera are now using their car service of choice for their last ride out from the locker room at Guaranteed Rate Field to a contender. Let’s take a look at what the White Sox received in return.
White Sox Add Four Prospects
Coming over from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Swarzak deal, the 25-year old projects as a fourth outfielder with the hope he could develop into something more. His game features power, speed and a strong throwing arm with the versatility to play every outfield position. If not for an injury, he’d likely be playing in Chicago right now, particularly with Cabrera on his way to Kansas City, and Avisail Garcia on the DL. His power may be enough to propel him to a starting job, but right now he strikes out too much to be considered as an everyday player. Originally chosen by the Texas Rangers in the 11th round of the 2013 draft, he rates as the White Sox number 19 prospect but doesn’t crack the top 100 overall.
The brother of former White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie, has struggled mightily at the Triple-A level while playing in the Tampa Bay Rays’ farm system. He ranks 67th out of 73 qualified hitters in the International League in batting (.227), 64th in on-base percentage (.296) and 59th in slugging (.357) while earning consistent below-average marks defensively at first base. A switch hitter drafted for his power, scouts have negatively evaluated his swing from both sides on the dish citing a lack of athleticism, and an inability to elevate the ball. The latter of which is essential to a power hitter. A re-calibration of his swing may be in order if he’s able to recapture the magic he demonstrated earlier in his minor league career; smacking 34 doubles and 18 home runs in 2016. Despite these numbers, he ranks ahead of Cordell at number 14 on the White Sox top 30 prospects list.
Drafted 67th overall in 2016 the right-hander can pinpoint a fastball in the 89-94 mph range. As longtime White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson likes to say that’s the best pitch in baseball, but scouts like Puckett’s change-up better than his good old fastball. He also features a curve ball that Don Cooper and his team of developmental mad scientists will need to place under the microscope in order to maximize it. He slots in at number 25 among White Sox prospects and projects to reach the majors in 2019. At 22, there’s optimism that he can raise in stock in the club’s loaded farm system.
The left-hander has struggled in Low Class-A this year featuring a low 90s fastball to contrast with his low 80s change up. He also throws a slider, but this is another pitch that Cooper will need to get his hands on if it’s going to be major league ready. The 2015 8th round draft pick for Kansas City wasn’t able to crack the club’s top 30 prospects list.
Prospects May Add Value Higher than Projections
While these prospects may not have the marquee value of some of the other recent transactions, there’s a possibility a couple of them become contributors to the big league roster. Quality major league players often develop from some unlikely sources. Ask former 38rd draft pick Mark Buehrle, who recently had his number retired by the club.
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